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Horrible Judge of Character

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The trio has Brains, Beauty and definitely Brawn.

Jafar: I don't trust him, sire.
Sultan: Nonsense! One thing I pride myself on, Jafar... I'm an excellent judge of character.
Iago: Oh, excellent judge, yeah, sure... not!

Real Life manipulators appear convincing and interested in your own good and soothe one in by being nice, kind, getting your sympathy and if that doesn't suffice for them to get everything they want, they begin pushing buttons as they lie whenever they can get away with it. All of that is so subtle that it usually escapes the people who it is happening to.

But in fiction, manipulation is usually just the result of the victim carrying an Idiot Ball. Everyone else, especially the audience, can and will immediately identify the manipulator as evil, but the manipulated is simply a Horrible Judge of Character. Compare to when only the protagonists see through the manipulator and everyone else holds him in high regard, in that case, it's a Devil in Plain Sight. Compare to The Alpha Bitch who is quite often also transparently mean, abusive, and treacherous to everyone (who doesn't have the authority to punish her for it), yet inside her clique (read: "popular" and/or upper-class people), magically everyone likes her.


When the plot requires for these Horrible Judges Of Character to regularly make Card Carrying Villains their most intimate confidants, they're Ingenues — or Too Dumb to Live. Innocence and helplessness may attract guardians and friends, but will also make them vulnerable targets to get romantically involved with Troubled, but Cute or The Vamp.

On the extreme end, the Friends to All Living Things will also be intensely loyal to their friends, so they'll ignore all evidence that the Manipulator means them harm. When true friends try to point them to suspicious behavior or even show outright damning evidence, they will get a pouty "You're just jealous of our friendship!" and be blown off as The Cassandra, probably earning an earful about how Baron Bloodlust is a wonderful human being who just happens to be around whenever someone's bloodless corpse is found.


It usually takes a point blank Evil Monologue from their "friend" over the True Companion's corpse to even faze them into considering the possibility they might not be as hug-tastic a friend as they thought. If it doesn't break them, then they'll just turn right back around and follow their "friend" around, say he forgives them for killing off thousands and betraying him completely, and insist the Power of Trust and Friendship will redeem them. If not, they will experience Post-Support Regret, declaring "This Is Unforgivable!", and denounce them as a friend.

This may or may not work.

Hero with Bad Publicity is the reverse of this, where a character who is considered evil is actually good. If it's romantic, expect a Love Martyr, Love Makes You Dumb or Mad Love. If the "friend" is a Chessmaster, then they're an Unwitting Pawn. If the horrible judges of character cause a horrible plot development by doing this, they are an Unwitting Instigator of Doom. Related is Pacifism Backfire, where someone chooses not to act violently against someone else; one reason is that he still believes that someone is still good. Contrast Evil Cannot Comprehend Good and Excellent Judge of Character. In larger numbers, expect to get Gullible Lemmings.

Just be ready for some serious trouble once this chump connects the dots and stops being a chump.

If the work expects the audience to not figure out that an Obviously Evil character will turn out to be the villain, that's Obvious Judas (with a side of Viewers Are Morons).

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Other Examples:

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    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes, the Supermen never realize Big M. and Little M. are trying to take over Planet Xing, even if the evidence is staring them right in the face. Sweet S. does come close to discovering this in an episode of Season 8, however, when she thinks Big M. is the glowing-bellied criminal she's after and is prepared to face the fact that he's a villain without an insane amount of denial. But then Huo Haha gets him out of the situation.

    Comic Books 
  • Betty Ross actually fell for Glenn Talbot, a Jerkass at best, and a sociopathic Smug Snake at his worst.
  • In Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl, Supergirl thinks that murderous, egomaniac, xenophobic, jerkass and Manipulative Bastard Lex Luthor is "the most wonderful man in the world" . To be fair, he was a master manipulator who deceived everyone but Batgirl and Bruce Wayne, and after discovering his true colors, Kara turned on Luthor at once.
  • The Eye Of Mongombo: Cliff Carlson’s ex-boss Norbert Nuskle may be a Jerkass and all, but he’s convinced that the Colombian drug plantation he’s in is just an ordinary farm.
  • In G.I. Joe (IDW), Cobra Commander is so certain that he's corrupted Chuckles to Cobra's side that he eventually stops taking any precautions around him. Naturally, that’s what Chuckles was waiting for. The Commander doesn’t realize what’s really going on until Chuckles points a pistol right at him. Cue headshot.
  • Subverted in Fables. Ambrose, who up until the 8th book had been a not too bright Nice Guy sets out to restore his kingdom in the homelands. He recruits dead fables in the Witching Well, promising them a physical body and a chance at redemption for their sins. This includes Shere Khan and Bluebeard, both of whom betrayed the fable community and plan to betray him for control of his kingdom. Not only does Ambrose know, but it's also all part of his plan.
  • Iznogoud: The Caliph has Iznogoud — a man who tries to carry out an evil scheme to get rid of him on any day ending in "Y" — as his grand vizier and most trusted adviser. You do the math.
  • The Mighty Thor: Everyone who believes Loki (god of lies and evil) when he says that this time, he's definitely changed and isn't planning to betray someone or everyone.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics):
    • This is pretty much King Max's defining trait. He trusted the original Dr. Robotnik to the end and never suspected his true colors until it was too late. Issue 233 reveals him to have a history of this; Harvey Who explicitly warned him not to trust Warlord Kodos, not to let Ixis Naugus remain in the kingdom, not to exile Nate Morgan, and finally not to take the original Robotnik in, but Max ignored him every single time. There's a reason he's been given the title of Maximilian the Cursed.
    • Even after watching him try to turn the Council of Acorn into his brainwashed servants, Geoffrey still believes there's some good, moral side to Ixis Naugus that he can appeal to. Needless to say, this backfires horribly.
    • Colin Kintobor, Robotnik/Eggman's brother, fits the bill perfectly. Prior to the Great War, he was the one who judged Robotnik for using his fellow Overlanders as test subjects for weaponry, sentencing him to prison for doing so and ordering his death when he escaped. Despite this, while not privy to the many atrocities Robotnik committed, when he returned to Mobius, Colin was still quick to trust Eggman over Sonic and the Mobians and judge his brother as having reformed. It's not until Eggman himself personally confirms that Hope's suspicions over him being behind the Robians are true, and the reveal he's been subjecting Colin and the rest of the Overlanders to radiation poisoning with the intent to roboticize them all as well, that Colin realizes that his brother is just as evil as ever.
  • Spider-Man examples:
    • The idiot who authorized giving Norman Osborn the authority he had during Dark Reign fits the list, plain and simple. (It was at first assumed to be President Barack Obama, due to the shade of the hand presenting Osborn, but it was later retconned that Obama's predecessor was the one holding the Idiot Ball. Obama just decided to keep holding the damn thing)
      • And although even his son Harry told him off during that mess, after the events of Superior Spider-Man, Harry's former wife and Peter's former friend Liz Allan has been seen in a new alliance with Norman Osborn as he attempts to establish a new identity and corporation (now that his identity as the Green Goblin is no longer a secret). Whether she is doing this entirely out of free will is unknown, but it's very possible that the biggest reason is to ensure a better future for her own son.
    • Aunt May was played like this a lot in the 1960s, especially with regards to "that awful Spider-Man" and Doctor Octopus (who charmed the socks off her and almost married her). That she liked to tell Peter that bohemian party-girl Mary Jane would make a good future wife for him seemingly was another instance of this, but in the 1980s it turned out that she was actually right. It was also later stated — in her backstory — that she almost married a murderer named Johnny Jerome. (How did that end? Long story short, it was right before she met Ben, who was quite the chivalrous type way back then, especially when he saw a Damsel in Distress.)
    • A minor example involving Spider-Man: When Joe Robinson was in legal trouble for withholding evidence in a murder involving Tombstone, Joe's attorney Cynthia Bernhammer starting dating Nick Katzenberg, a sleazy tabloid paparazzi with no morals who specialized in making celebrities, including Spider-Man, look bad. In fact, she was the only person who didn't hate him, and even she wondered at one point why she was attracted to a "lowlife worm" (as she put it) like him. Although, it's not known what became of their relationship, as Cynthia stopped appearing after Joe was pardoned, and Nick was eventually killed off.
    • Of course, that was nothing compared to Glory Grant, J. Jonah Jameson's secretary at the Daily Bugle. Her one-time lover Edwardo Lobo was a Mexican mobster and a mutant werewolf; she didn't know at first, but even after she found out, she was okay with it! She continued to love him until the very end, when a gang war between the Lobos Syndicate and The Kingpin's organization concluded in a violent and bloody melee, which resulted in Spidey grappling with Edwardo in werebeast form. Glory grabbed a gun that had been dropped by the Kingpin's Number Two, and actually tried to shoot Spider-Man to save Edwardo; but she missed, hitting Edwardo instead and killing him.
    • JJ himself was, for a while, in the habit of blindly trusting whichever soon-to-be supervillain had announced Spider-Man was in their sights, most notably with Mysterio.
  • Superman: The braintrust in charge of the cloning programs in Superman: At Earth's End decided to pass over the likes of Elvis Presley, Lex Luthor, and John F. Kennedy, to clone Hitler. Twice. (Granted, cloning Luthor would also have been a mistake, but at least he would have been a better choice than Hitler.)
  • In The Transformers: Robots in Disguise:
    • Soundwave somehow concludes that Galvatron is the ideal candidate to lead the Decepticons away from Megatron's Lawful Evil tendencies and towards being heroic champions of freedom. Galvatron's history of pointless butchery dates back to the Miocene Epoch.
    • Part of the reason Arcee was so screwed up mentally for so long was she decided to trust Jhiaxus, a Mad Scientist who looks like The Igor and let him experiment on her.
    • Alpha Trion helped put Nova Prime in charge. Six million years later, he assures Optimus that Nova's statement that everybody would "be in their place" didn't sound nearly as sinister at the time.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Bart Simpson: Attorney at Law: Teenage Maggie toward Gina. Her idolization of Gina leads her to ignore the damage she has done toward Bart and gets an earful from him and Marge for reintroducing Gina to him. Gina joins in a plot to kidnap Bart on behalf of Jessica Lovejoy. However, she does end up redeeming herself by testifying against Jessica, thanks to Maggie's never-ending faith.
  • Boop the Snoot for Critical Damage!: Nicholas Schnee was a renowned Huntsman and corporate owner, having earned both Ozpin and Ironwood's respect. That said, he thought Jacques (a greedy amoral jerk) was a good catch for his daughter and saw fit to name him his successor. Ozpin even lampshades this.
    Ozpin: He was a good man, just not a particularly perceptive one.
  • In BURN THE WITCH, Lila's assessment of others hinges entirely upon whether or not she's successfully lied to them. Since Marinette has called her out on her deceptive nature, she presumes that all of her efforts to save her from Witch Hunter and her angry mob must be a trick, while she's convinced that she has Hawkmoth wrapped around her little finger and that he'll protect her from his own creation.
  • Anybody who buys Liu Bei's hero act in Farce of the Three Kingdoms, with special note going to Lu Su and Liu Zhang, who had to be beaten about the head with his treachery before either of them would accept it. It never really sticks with Lu Su, either.
  • In Gensokyo 20XXV, we have Reimu, who is noted, in one chapter, to be someone who can "be bullied one minute and still go back around trust them the next", which is true seeing that she trusted Paintbrush Bitch, when the latter let her outside, knowing full well that could place her in danger and it did. Naturally, one of the kids thought of her as a moron for doing that, to which Alice did bring up the fact that she could have thought of it as being nice by doing something the other adults wouldn't do. In that vein, Ren gave his brother a thinly veiled threat about what could happen if Baka dared to betray said trust.
    Ren: On a note and you had better get this through your thick skull and make clear note of which it is I am saying to you now, you can bully Reimu one minute and, yet, she'll still trust you the next, so, in no way, are you to violate that trust or place her into harms way and, if you do, well, we will never at all hesitate and will act as we see best, be you my older brother or not.
  • King Henri from Heaven's Light (a crossover between Tangled and The Hunchback of Notre Dame). He's practically the only person in the story who trusts Judge Claude Frollo, the Minister of Justice, mentioned below. In his defense, he points out that Frollo is supposed to do his job, not to be popular, and he does try to reign in Frollo by ordering Quasimodo to be released when the crowd starts humiliating him at the Festival of Fools. Eventually, he wises up to Frollo's corruption, but only after the Minister has already taken him and his wife captive and is threatening to enslave his daughter and take over Corona. After Frollo dies, he names Captain Phoebus as his Redeeming Replacement.
  • The Karma of Lies: Despite being fully aware of Lila's true nature, Adrien insists that she's only lying in order to impress her classmates. Even though he's watching her con them into donating to Fake Charities and other expensive favors. This eventually leads to him trusting her when she tells him just what he wants to hear, and being repaid for this by her draining the Agrestes' emergency funds account.
  • Played With in Leave for Mendeleiev:
    • On one hand, Adrien recognizes that his Childhood Friend Chloe is an entitled, Spoiled Brat, and he doesn't particularly enjoy when she turns that attitude towards him. Yet he's more than happy to excuse her bad behavior so long as he's not the one suffering for it, and when Lady Wifi mistakes a cosplaying Chloe for Ladybug and 'exposes' her Secret Identity, he's thrilled, thinking this cements his claim to his 'partner'. He also doesn't seem to understand why Plagg and the real Ladybug find the notion of Chloe being a heroine so repugnant, and gets upset when others are glad that she's gotten knocked off her pedestal a bit.
    • Along similiar lines, Mme Bustier recognizes that Chloe has... issues. Rather than correcting her misbehavior directly, however, Bustier insists that her other students should 'lead by example' by forgiving her mistakes and modeling better behavior. In practice, this simply means that Chloe gets away with everything, never getting punished for doing anything wrong — it's the 'good students' who bear the brunt instead.
  • In The New Adventures of Invader Zim, Skoodge thinks that Zim is his caring best friend, despite the fact that Zim doesn't give a damn about him and doesn't even try to hide the fact. Of course, we can’t judge him too harshly for this, as the only alternative Skoodge has ever known is the Tallest, and unlike them, Zim actually recognizes that Skoodge does have worthwhile skills.
  • In the sidestories of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Jeanette Fisher's grandfather is revealed to have been this at some point. To wit, he almost married his daughter Kaoruko to a man who was actually a criminal and murderer, while disapproving of her eventual husband because he came from Gringy City.
  • In The Prayer Warriors Jerry, the main character, qualifies on no less than three occasions in "The Evil Gods Part 1". In the space of a single chapter, there are two cases- when he believes Ethan when he repents his sins, but kills Thalia when she tries to do the same on the mere chance that she's lying- the former turns out to be a traitor, while the latter joins the Prayer Warriors in "The Evil Gods Part 2", and is retconned into being one all along. He also doesn't realize that his own wife is a traitor and that he's not the father of her unborn son. Interestingly enough, he has (so far) not ended up regretting deciding to trust the canonical traitor Luke.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
    • In Act III, Akua and Kahlua helped Kiria in his plan to use the Chrono Displacement spell to rewrite history, going so far as to steal said spell from their father Issa's archive for Kiria to begin with, because they genuinely believed that the extent of Kiria's plan was to send Tsukune's ghoul back to the Battle of Kahdaln so as to turn the tide of the battle and change history in favor of the monsters, thus ensuring that monsters would rule the world. In chapter 52, upon their defeat, the two are completely shocked to discover that, in addition to that, Kiria also planned to send out Blackheart-infected monsters to the dark lords themselves, as well as any other being powerful enough to oppose him, so he would be the top monster in the revised timeline, and he would have had Akua and Kahlua, and possibly Moka and Kokoa as well, infected with Blackheart as well and sent back to kill their father Issa and destroy the Shuzen empire from within, all of which is anything but what they wanted. Kahlua and Akua spend the entirety of Act IV as The Atoners.
    • Tsukune's mother and cousin fall into it during Act IV, automatically trusting Jovian and Jacqueline, Hokuto's Psycho Lesbian Co-Dragons, simply because the two claimed to be Tsukune's friends. They realize just what a mistake that was after Jovian holds Kyouko hostage and rapes her, and after Jacqueline blows up the Aono house and levels most of the neighborhood to the ground for laughs.
    • In Act VII chapter 3, the new Complica decides to trust Routier right off the bat. While Routier did save her from a group of human pedophiles, she did so by ripping them to shreds with a chainsaw and laughing about it.
  • Vale Whitaker, the heroine of The Hunger Games fanfiction Some Semblance of Meaning, is awful at discerning the true alignments and motivations of others. Even in the arena, she wants to trust others, which leads to her allying with Phlox, who tries to kill her and her other allies. However, the one person that she consistently distrusts is Obsidian, who is quite kind to her, all things considered, and even saves her life on multiple occasions.
    • Later on, during their alliance, we learn that Vale also misjudges Obsidian by thinking that, as a well-trained and strong Career, he must not have any problems, while he is simultaneously plagued with constant questions about the morality of his actions, as well as the fear that he isn't so different from Amber and the other Careers. Obsidian also misjudges Vale by mistakenly assuming that she is a Purity Sue type who could never hurt anyone and therefore lacks the kind of worries that consume him.
  • TMNT: Secrets of the Sewers: The High Council of the Foot Clan are convinced that the Shredder is an honorable, righteous man and that Splinter is a despicable, dishonorable monster when the opposite is the case; in fact, it's revealed in the very next chapter that everything Shredder has done throughout the fic has been to amass an army of mutants so he can slay the council and take complete control over the Foot. They nearly kill Splinter to avenge Shredder's apparent death, and would have done so had Murakami not intervened and helped set them straight.
  • What It Takes: John Diggle comes to realize he's this over the course of the story.
    • First is the relatively benign example of his bad treatment of Laurel due to his grudge regarding the Deadshot situation two years ago, which he admits to himself was wrong of him after getting to know her better and seeing how much she loves and wants to protect Starling, allowing them to build a genuine and close friendship.
    • Next is learning about the amount of trauma Oliver went through during his five years away from home, causing him to acknowledge that he's been too hard on Oliver for some of his choices and that he now understands him better. That allows for an easy reconciliation between them when they finally have the chance to really talk.
    • Then comes Andy, which comes with its own set of problems because John operates under the belief that Andy has been brainwashed for the rest of the story and is implied to still be in denial even after the confirmation from Darhk that Andy was a willing member of HIVE.
    • It really hits when he finds out about Felicity ditching him and the others and keeping Oliver in the dark in order to maintain their relationship. He flat-out tells Oliver that he completely misjudged her and that he should've realized what kind of person she was after she nearly got all of the team killed trying to sneak Oliver out of Nanda Parbat. Though he doesn't say it outright, it's obvious he no longer considers her a friend.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Sultan from Disney's Aladdin is the only one who doesn't see the Obviously Evil Jafar for what he really is, and considers him his most trusted advisor until Aladdin smashes Jafar's snake staff and exposes his treachery. The movie even lampshades this when the Sultan prides himself to be an excellent judge of character, and Iago grumbles his sarcastic "NOT!"
  • Beauty and the Beast:
    • The villagers qualify, no doubt. Even though Gaston clearly made no effort to hide his Jerkass nature, such as lusting after Belle despite clearly knowing she isn't into him or trying to blackmail her into marrying him by threatening to send her father Maurice to an asylum, they still love him.
    • Even Maurice, Belle's father, initially thinks that Gaston is a decent enough guy only because of his good looks. He even suggested Belle spending time with him. Of course, that was the beginning of the movie.
  • Cinderella: After Cinderella's biological mother passed away, her father thought marrying Lady Tremaine would offer Cinderella a positive mother figure. Let's just say he was wrong.
  • The Emperor's New Groove: Emperor Kuzco not only agrees to have dinner with Yzma after he both fired and flat-out insulted her, kicking off her scheme of killing and usurping him for control over the empire, but he also believes that she and Kronk are trying to locate and bring him home rather than kill him, as Pacha attempted to warn him. Also, it never seems to occur to him that Yzma could be the one behind his transformation into a llama, even when he knows full well that she has a "secret" laboratory where she would be able to create a potion that could change him into a different creature. It takes him overhearing Yzma berate Kronk for botching the poison attempt to realize how evil Yzma truly is despite all the clear indicators that should have tipped him off. Of course, before character development set in, Kuzco was an arrogant, selfish jerk. It's likely he was just so full of himself that he couldn't conceive of Yzma betraying him because of his ego.
  • A Goofy Movie. Goofy is convinced that his Toxic Friend Pete is "good with kids," despite Pete more-or-less mentally abusing his son for years. When Pete hears of Max's aloofness, he presents as a concerning issue that Max may end up becoming a criminal. Goofy initially shrugs it off, but the notion returns when he is called by the very neurotic principal over the stunt Max pulled. The principal rants in extreme hyperbole, leading to Goofy taking Max on the fishing trip. Later Pete convinces Goofy that the way to keep your kids good is to "keep 'em under your thumb", despite him doing that to PJ only demonstrating that all that does is make your kids miserable. Overall, it fails as Goofy tries to be more assertive. This leads to even more problems when Pete overhears Max telling PJ about editing the road trip map.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Quasimodo. Especially when it comes to Frollo's true evil nature (until the climax, at least). Justified due to being raised by Frollo and kept in isolation for his entire life.
    Esmeralda: How could such a cruel man have raised someone like you?
    Quasimodo: Cruel?!? Oh, no. He saved my life. He took me in when no one else would. I am a monster, you know.
  • Aunt Sarah from Lady and the Tramp is this to an extreme degree. Throughout her scenes, she's constantly mean to Lady and considers her a danger to the baby. Things don't get better in the climax where the rat gets into the baby's open window and Tramp is able to kill it before it hurts the baby. She assumes that Tramp tried to hurt the baby, locked him in the closet until the pound arrived and threw Lady in the basement.
  • The Lion King (1994): Both Mufasa and Simba seem to trust the Obviously Evil uncle Scar. In Mufasa's case, he always put up with Scar's constant envy and discontent, but he just never expected his brother to be really evil enough to betray him. By the time Mufasa realizes who Scar truly is, it's too late for him as Scar tosses him to his demise.
  • In The Magic Roundabout film "Dougal and the Blue Cat", Florence and everyone except for Dougal takes a liking to Buxton the blue cat when he arrives in the garden. They trust Buxton and shower him with attention, completely unaware that the cat was really hatching an evil plan to take over the garden. The only one who correctly suspects Buxton is up to no good is Dougal. It doesn't help that they don't believe Dougal when he tries to tell them that Buxton is evil upon seeing the cat shedding Crocodile Tears. They do realise their mistake after they were captured and imprisoned by Buxton's army.
  • Megamind: Megamind genuinely believes Hal Stewart is the perfect candidate for Metro Man's replacement, even though Hal is an immature creep whose only motivation is to get Roxanne's attention. Megamind does realize his mistake, though, once Hal starts terrorizing Metro City after being turned down by Roxanne.
    Megamind: Just look at him.
    Minion: No, he doesn't look quite the hero-type to me.
  • ParaNorman: This was Judge Hopkins' Fatal Flaw. Pun aside, he believed Agatha to be a Wicked Witch without noticing she was innocent. Justified because he was scared of her powers to talk to the dead. As such, this is Averted after he had a Heel Realization.
  • In Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, this seems to be an unfortunate side-effect of Phineas and Ferb's eternal optimism as they didn't realize that either of the two Doofenshmirtzes was evil until they were flat-out told about it.
    • Although the trope may be subverted in how they judged Doof-1 since he was very nice and polite with them.
    • While they have dodged many adults throughout the series, they never encountered one who would hurt them just to expose Perry's secret identity.
    • Same can be said for Phineas thinking that Perry kept his secret identity because he never cared for them as a family. If only he had read the pamphlet.
  • Pinocchio, both in the Disney film, and in the Filmation unofficial sequel, Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night. He seems to think he can trust absolutely everyone he comes across. Worse yet, he often trusts people that he's well aware have double-crossed him before. In the latter, he willingly makes deals with a boatman with glowing red eyes aboard a ship referred to as "The Empire of the Night."
  • The Princess and the Frog: The entire plot is kicked off when Prince Naveen is easily duped by the Obviously Evil Dr. Facilier and turned into a frog. Tiana even lampshades how stupid Naveen was to trust him:
    Tiana: You mean to tell me this all happened because you were messin' with the Shadow Man?!
    Naveen: [defensively] He was very charismatic!
  • In Rugrats in Paris, Chas Finster proves to be one, failing to see that Chuckie is terrified of Coco LaBouche. This is justified as Coco is rather good at flirting with men despite her contempt of children. He does realize his mistake at the end though.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: This is the Fatal Flaw of Snow White. She completely trusts a creepy hag and thinks she's just a nice "poor old lady", which shows just how tragically good and pure she is — even her animal friends who immediately realize something is up can't convince her not to help.
  • In Plucky and Hamton's sub-plot of Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation, Hamton's family picks up Mr. Hitcher, a dangerous hitchhiker, on their way to the HappyWorldLand amusement park. Unlike Plucky, who has listened to a news report describing Mr. Hitcher as an escaped dangerous criminal, the Pig family don't seem to see him that way, despite his obvious hints, such as his Hockey Mask and Chainsaw. Even worse is that Hamton gives Mr. Hitcher Plucky's address, rather than his own, much to the latter's horror.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the mystery film After the Thin Man, Nora Charles's cousin Selma chooses one man over another to marry. The "winner" proves to be a cold-hearted philanderer while the "loser" is finally revealed to be a raving madman. Selma's mother: "You sure can pick 'em!"
  • In Byzantium, what's with nice guy Darvell later thinking Ruthven might be a good, noble recruit for the Brethren? Ruthven raped and forced Clara into whoredom and then abandoned Darvell, robbed his corpse, and stole his estate. WTF?
  • John Bishop from the first Child's Play film takes this to Too Dumb to Live levels. Despite having the nickname of "Dr. Death", he's as principled a practitioner of Hollywood Voodoo as any you could hope to find — and he pegs none other than Charles Lee Ray, the future Chucky, to be his student. Not content with that monumental lapse of judgment, he decides Ray is trustworthy enough to let in on the secret place where he keeps the Voodoo Doll he has made of himself. Literally no one but him is surprised by how he meets his end.
  • In Dumb and Dumber, Harry and Lloyd don't usually pick up hitchhikers but they make an exception to a guy who is trying to kill them.
  • All of the other candidates in Exam, for trusting White who is a Manipulative Bastard.
  • In Fallen Angel, June Mills is an intelligent woman, but she still falls in love with and marries a man who she knows conned her hometown of Walton.
  • Guest House Paradiso: Gina Carbonara thinks the pervy, condescending Richie is a sweet man and believes she can trust Eddie with her identity, only moments after meeting him. (Compared to her boyfriend, however, those two are saints).
  • Alan Garner from The Hangover is dumbfounded when he finds out that he was sold roofies instead of ecstasy because the drug dealer "seemed like a real straight shooter". It later turns out the dealer did intend to sell him ecstasy but accidentally got the bags mixed up. He also remains friends with Leslie Chow in the sequels, despite knowing full well that he's an international criminal.
  • The live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas! embellishes Cindy Lou Who's encounter with the Santa-disguised Grinch as he's stealing her home's Christmas trappings. She tells him that the Grinch isn't a bad person, just lonely. The Grinch remarks to himself that she's a "nice kid", but a "baaad judge of character". Given his later change of heart, it turns out she was spot-on after all, and it's actually he who falls into this trope.
  • Mick in Idiot Box looks up to his friend Kev, unaware that Kev is a sociopath. He remains unaware even as he starts to move beyond Kev's influence and realize he can make more of his life than Kev ever could.
  • Indiana Jones is notoriously betrayed at least once in almost every movie. The amount of people who haven't betrayed him on his adventures are in the single digits.
  • The Interview: Dave very easily fell for Kim Jung-Un's Nice Guy act at first.
  • James Bond:
    • Diamonds Are Forever has Professor Dr. Metz, who builds the diamond-encrusted satellite for Blofeld out of the insanely stupid belief that SPECTRE's dedicated to global disarmament, rather than the blackmail-for-profit schemes they'd committed in all the previous films up until now.
    • Frederick Gray, the British Minister of Defense from The Spy Who Loved Me to The Living Daylights pretty much embodies this trope throughout the Bond films. Pretty much all of his appearances has him doubting the film's Big Bad is anything other than an ally of Britain or an Honest Corporate Executive, only to be proven wrong by Bond's subsequent investigation into them. Special mention has to be given to his final appearance in which not only he, but also M and practically all of MI6 except for Bond, believe that the film's Big Bad is a genuine KGB defector, rather than a fraud seeking to play the British and Soviets against each other while he uses the distraction to accomplish his own agenda.
    • Licence to Kill gives us a rare villainous example in Latin American drug lord Franz Sanchez. Because he believes that Bond saved him from a botched assassination attempt by Hong Kong narcotics (really, it was the other way around), he believes Bond's (false) suggestions that his henchmen are in fact, plotting against him, prompting Sanchez to go Bad Boss on his loyal employees.
    • Pretty much all the good guys get hit with this trope at least once in The World Is Not Enough: Bond and M believe that Elektra King is the grieving daughter of an old friend of theirs, rather than the mastermind behind her father's death, Russian mobster Valentin Zukovsky from Goldeneye has his bodyguard The Bull turn out to be in the employ of The Dragon Renard, and Colonel Akakievich mistakenly believes Bond is behind the plot to steal a bomb from the nuclear test site he's overseeing, allowing Renard to take control of the situation, a move that ultimately costs the Colonel his life.
  • In The Phantom of the Opera (1962), Professor Petrie trusts the publication of his music to Lord D'Arcy, apparently never suspecting (in spite of D'Arcy being dismissive, rude, and overall a total Jerkass) that he might not be on the up and up. And naturally he isn't - he steals Petrie's music and claims it as his own work.
  • Before the beginning of Sanjuro, a group of young samurai incorrectly identify the corrupt official in the clan, and plan to root him out. This would have played out perfectly for the actual corrupt official if a certain nameless ronin hadn't been eavesdropping.
  • Caliph Pahn in Sinbad of the Seven Seas completely trusts his vizier Jaffar, who of course betrays him at the first opportunity.
  • Ralphie, a five year old kid from Storm of the Century, who insists that Andre Linoge, who has been responsible for five deaths so far and is heavily implied to be The Devil, isn't a bad guy because he gave Ralphie a present, and "bad guys don't give kids presents."
  • This Is the End: Seth Rogen and the others believe Jonah Hill is a perfect saint, despite Jay Baruchel warning them that he isn't. Jay turns out to right when Jonah prays to God for his death.
    Jay: Nobody's that nice.
    Seth: Jonah is that nice.
    Jay: Serial killers are that nice.
  • During his brief appearance in Van Helsing, Victor Frankenstein acts shocked, shocked! that Count Dracula had ulterior motives in financing his scientific experiments other than for the science of it... even as said patron uses horror movie teleportation to saunter calmly around his laboratory as peasants with Torches and Pitchforks storm the castle.

    Myths & Religion 
  • From Greek Mythology, Aphrodite. Seriously, her husband Hephaestus may not have been a prize catch, but falling for Ares, the homicidal god of war? The fact that she was likely the only one who even liked him should have tipped her off that he was bad news. She really could have done better. Though depending on the myth, Aphrodite might not be any better than Ares. All Girls Want Bad Boys, plus "All's fair in love and war."
  • Another example would be most of the city of Troy; it was pretty obvious that the Trojan Horse was a trap. In fact, some residents of the city were not fooled. Possibly the dissenter who could have had the best chance of making them reconsider was the Trojan priest Laocoön (the phrase, "I fear Greeks, even those bringing gifts" can be attributed to him), but after he and his sons were attacked and strangled by serpents, the Trojans paid his warning no heed. (Depending on the version, the serpents were sent either by Poseidon or Apollo, who both held grudges against Laocoön.) Helen also guessed the plot and tried to expose it by mimicking the voices of the wives of some Greeks she suspected were inside the device to convince them to come out. (And Anticlus almost fell for it; the plan would have failed if Odysseus had not covered his mouth with his hand.) King Priam's daughter Cassandra, the soothsayer of Troy (the Trope Namer for Cassandra Truth) predicted the Horse would be the doom of the city and its royal family. But all these warnings went ignored.
  • In The Book of Esther, Ahasuerus didn't realize that his vizier Haman is an Evil Chancellor, even when he tried to wipe out all the Jews in Persia, until Ahasuerus realized (found out after she told him) that this would also include his wife, the titular Esther. He trusted Haman so much that all Haman had to say was "let me take care of this group of non-law-abiders", and he got the king's signet ring to use.

    Professional Wrestling 

  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, Emmanuel sees Simon (or rather, Simon's Split Personality) jump out the window of the destroyed nurse's office wearing a charred nurse's coat and a surgical mask with a maniacal grin drawn on it. He doesn't seem to find any of it suspect and follows along with what Simon wants. To little surprise, Simon attacks him and leaves him unconscious with cracked ribs.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Arguably, The Emperor of Mankind has this problem.
      • Despite numerous warnings from various sources, he still failed to see Horus' betrayal coming. I guess you don't expect that sort of thing from your favourite genetically engineered son...
      • There’s also his trust in some of his other sons who turned to chaos and all the Chaos Space Marines who were, putting it lightly, horrible, horrible people.
      • The one son he did decide not to trust, Magnus the Red, was the one who tried to warn him about Horus, and who was pushed to Chaos as a result.
    • The Horus Heresy was mostly caused by the Primarchs being miserable judges of character. The loyal Primarchs refused to believe their brothers would betray the Emperor, allowing them to be blindsided. The Traitor Primarchs that started the Heresy believed the Emperor was a power-hungry jerk who was betraying them. In reality, while the Emperor was undoubtedly a jerk, his goal was ultimately pure — a golden age for Mankind, not the God-Emperor of Mankind.
    • There are some stupid, stupid Imperial nobles who hire Dark Eldar to act as mercenaries and deniable assets. Said Dark Eldar usually go in, kill/torture/enslave/commit unspeakable acts upon their unfortunate victims, get paid, and then turn on their stupid, stupid employer.
    • What's funnier is the T'au fell victim to this as well; they got Dark Eldar assistance during a particularly ruthless Tyranid invasion. Of course, the Dark Eldar were manipulating them and taking advantage of them right from the very beginning, and the clueless greyskins only clued in when they realized that the "cultural exchange" party they sent over to meet them never returned, and some of the Dark Eldar's nightmarish flesh-hulk creations had a very familiar grey skin tone...
      • Twice no less! In another situation described in the Tyranid's 5th edition codex, a T'au colony was attacked by the Tyranids, only be saved by Necrons that had been in hibernation on the planet's moon. The Ethereal in charge of the colony threw a "Thank you for saving us/Welcome to the T'au Empire" celebration that lasted for three days before the Necrons grew bored of the amusing situation and decided they wanted their planet back.
  • Warhammer Fantasy : See every Elven Noble thousands of years ago not only electing Bel-Shanaar as Phoenix King, but also being blind to Malekith's evil intent for so long. Come on! His name is MALEKITH!
  • Pathfinder: Exaggerated with the Emperor Xin of ancient Thassilon. While he wasn't a bad guy himself (his official alignment is Lawful Neutral), all of the people he hired to be Runelords, who were supposed to represent the Seven Heavenly Virtues, instead all turned out the be evil pricks and quickly started to embody the Seven Deadly Sins instead.

  • Creon in Sophocles's Antigone. Basically, every single character he meets, he utterly fails to spot that they have good reasons for acting the way they do and wastes an inordinate amount of time accusing people of being selfish, corrupt, or (in the case of Antigone herself) just plain female.
  • Frequent in William Shakespeare's works:
    • King Duncan from Macbeth is the Anthropomorphic Personification of this trope, as he blindly trusts both the traitorous Thane of Cawdor and his replacement Macbeth, who kills him.
    • A downplayed example in Othello, Othello is mindlessly trusting of his ancient, "honest Iago," a character thoroughly devoted to ruining his life. This is more due to Iago being a Manipulative Bastard than Othello being a Horrible Judge Of Character. It still doesn't excuse some of Othello's idiocy, such as saying he refuses to believe Iago's words about Desdemona's infidelity and then, two seconds later, believing what Iago says. Othello also refuses to believe people who are honest with him, such as Desdemona and Emelia.
    • This was also King Lear's problem when he was unable to distinguish between the genuine love his daughter Cordelia had for him and the shallow flattery offered by her wicked sisters. He also failed to see that giving away all his land and power to his daughters was incompatible with wanting them to treat him as though he still had it.
    • Also in Hamlet everyone but the titular character is too sycophantic and unintelligent to see that their new king Claudius is a usurper of the throne.
  • Siegfried in Der Ring des Nibelungen, which proves to be his Fatal Flaw. Everybody around him lies to him and uses him to their advantage, and this leads to his tragic and ignoble death.
  • Played with in The Importance of Being Earnest: Cecily claims that her "first impressions of people are never wrong" when really they are consistently wrong.
  • In the National Theatre's 2014 production of Treasure Island, Squire Trelawney does really badly with his choice of crew. He trusts Long John Silver immediately and fails to spot anything wrong with any of the obviously-evil characters Silver suggests as crew members. The ones he hires before he meets Silver are not evil but are all pretty useless (apart from Gray, who seems unlikely but turns out to have hidden qualities).
  • Katherine Howard from Six. Every time she's approached by an older man, she believes he cares about her and is totally in love with her, before realizing he's only using her for sex. It hits particularly hard with Thomas Culpeper; she believes he watches out for her in court because he's her friend, only to discover he's trying to sleep with her. To make matters worse, this leads to her being beheaded.

    Visual Novels 
  • From the Ace Attorney series:
    • Will Powers from the first two games has trouble believing who the real culprit is in both cases 1-3 and 2-4, because they are people he trusted as coworkers. He's not very good at seeing the bad in people.
    • Iris from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations is thought of this way by Edgeworth after she calls Maya 'strong and reliable' and Larry 'sincere and hard-working'; however, they can be described as these under certain circumstances. She also trusts her murderous twin sister Dahlia Hawthorne despite the numerous examples of Dahlia abusing this.
    • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Klavier Gavin, brother of his psychotic older brother and Big Bad Kristoph Gavin has a hard time grasping that Kristoph and his bandmate Daryan Crescend could be criminals and murderers. Though when he finds out, he prosecutes them. Given Klavier is an idealistic young man that was mentored by Too Good for This Sinful Earth Constance Courte, it's not hard to imagine why he sees the good in everyone.
  • Fate/stay night: “Hi, I am Kirei Kotomine. I am emotionless except when amused by the discomfort of others. I'm a Jerkass, I make fun of you, and I act really suspiciously.” Yet everyone just seems to believe that he has nothing to do with what's going on, except Tohsaka. Even she just knows that he's not a nice guy. In "Heaven's Feel" up until the end Shirou doesn't really think of him as an enemy when he's quite blatant about not being on Shirou's side or even neutral or pretending he doesn't have a hidden agenda having to do with wide-scale destruction, although by that point Shirou just doesn't really care, seeing as how he needs his help in saving Sakura and Illya.
    • Poor, poor dear Bazett...
    • The prequel has Kirei be misunderstood by Risei Kotomine(his father) as well as by Tokiomi Tohsaka (Rin's father). The two of them enlist his help in a scheme that will result in a secret alliance between Kirei and Tokiomi, respectively the masters of Assassin and Archer, and Kirei goes along with their plans at first. However, he gradually becomes corrupted by spending time with Archer(Gilgamesh). After Risei's death, Kirei takes possession of the Command Seals Risei left for him in his dyng moments, while wishing he could have killed Risei personally. Shortly after Tokiomi orders Kirei to leave Japan so Tokiomi can secure a temporary alliance with Irisviel, Kirei then makes a contract with Gilgamesh and fatally stabs Tokiomi In the Back with a dagger.
  • In Hate Plus the Councillor of Security Old *Mute completely underestimates the danger Councillor Ryu poses, considering him a mere pawn and believing the real threat to security to be the peasantry. Justified in that he only became dangerous as a result of his contact with and due to the influence of Oh Eun-a, something Old *Mute wasn't aware of.
  • A more lighthearted variant of this trope appears in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair when the students are discussing why Byakuya dove under the table. Keep in mind that Byakuya has pretty much no patience for humor.
    Akane: Obviously he was hidin' so he could surprise us. That dude was always a big jokester.
    Kazuichi: The hell he was! You seriously couldn't tell what kinda person he was!?
  • In Murder by Numbers (2020) Honor's mother Sharon thinks her abusive ex Ryan is perfectly nice and also thinks highly of the arrogant, abusive talk show host Dick Stanford. She also has no idea K.C. is gay and doesn't even get his name right.
  • Downplayed in Heart of the Woods. Madison "Maddie" Raines, the main character, finds Evelyn Fischer, the mayor of the town of Eysenfeld, rather intimidating from when she first meets her. Despite that, Madison seems to trust Evelyn more than her daughter Morgan(who invited Madison and Tara to Eysenfeld to investigate supernatural phenomena) partly because Madison doesn't believe in the occult and assumes Morgan is either lying or insane. All this changes after Evelyn uses her illusionary powers to lure Madison out into a blizzard, causing Madison to freeze to death and come back as a ghost with Abigail's help. After Abigail explains what happened, Madison quickly accepts that Evelyn is evil, and later apologizes to Morgan for doubting her.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Nicholas Schnee, Weiss' grandfather, allowed his son-in-law Jacques to take over the Schnee Dust Company because of his business acumen. Sadly, he overlooked Jacques' serious lack of moral fiber; Jacques turned out to be a Corrupt Corporate Executive, and has turned against everything Nicholas stood for by, among other things, using shady business practices to maximize profit, driving rival companies out of business, exploiting his workers, and keeping the people of Mantle in poverty, all while hiding his unsavory dealings with aggressive PR.
  • Tony Purgatelli from Purgatony has a reputation for being the worst caseworker in Purgatory, where his job is to decide where a person should go after they die. Episode 7 reveals the whole office has a betting pool on where he'll send his next client since he's the only one whose decisions no one can predict.
  • The entirety of Ian "Worthikids" Worthington's Free Apple is about the frustratingly awful judgement of a Too Dumb to Live King, who keeps accepting poisoned food from an Obviously Evil shopkeep in a cavern and stubbornly ignores the advices of his talking owl Krebulon.
  • The Most Epic Story Ever Told in All of Human History: Lampshaded in episode five, "The Most Epic Crime-Stopping Mission Ever". Nobody considers that Ridiculously Epic might be evil, despite his evil-looking moustache, Red Eyes, Take Warning, and driving a car with "Evil Mobile" written on it. The text even points directly to his face and says "totally not an evil moustache or eyes". For bonus points, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep's Terra, one of the most notorious examples of this trope out there, randomly shows up to say "Okay, I believe you!"

  • Fighter from 8-Bit Theater insists that Ax-Crazy Black Mage is his "bestest [sic] friend" and will protect the Squishy Wizard against attacks from others, despite the fact that Black Mage hates Fighter's guts, and has said so, and has repeatedly tried to kill Fighter (not that it works, because Fighter is practically indestructible). Fighter, being the Cloudcuckoolander that he is, will insist that this is merely Black Mage being "such a kidder."
  • In Earthbound webcomic The Chosen Four, Monotoli describes Pokey like "such a nice boy, but a bit troubled". Seriously. It is not a wonder Pokey was able to exploit him.
  • Gordon Frohman of Concerned is a Black Shirt who utterly supports The Combine who have enslaved his race and is utterly against La Résistance of the humans, Gordon Freeman as well as the Vortigaunts, the alien allies of the humans. His hatred of Vortigaunts, and belief that they're trying to kill him, ends up making them choose to let him die rather than save his life.
  • Scary Go Round: Ryan Beckwith is way too trusting for his own good when it comes to Ralph, Tackleford's local occultist. Even though Ralph's advice has come back to bite him in the ass time after time, he still defends him and goes back to get his spiritual advice. This may have changed now that Ralph has been exposed as the devil.
  • Joey from A Game of Fools, who doesn't seem to realise that the aliens that have abducted him mean to kill and rape him, can't see anything weird about an insane naked man whose "backpack smelt like dead people" and thinks the Ax-Crazy hitchhiker they've picked up, who openly admits to multiple murders, bizarre sexual fetishes and necrophilia, is a perfectly nice guy.
    • There's also the fact that he still considers Sylvester one of his best friends despite the absolutely goddamn horrible things he manipulates him into doing.
      • Sylvester can be pretty bad himself, particularly when it comes to his friendship with Tomato (and the majority of his other friends too, if this is any indication). Although in his case he does at least seem partly aware of how horrible they are - he just doesn't really care.
    • Joey's rather poor choice of gym probably counts too.
  • Otacon comes up again in The Last Days of FOXHOUND, where Liquid is able to convince him to install a nuclear launch program on Metal Gear by telling him that he wants to shoot down meteors like in Armageddon (however, there's evidence that Otacon's in denial about Metal Gear's true purpose at this point, and Liquid did threaten to feed him to a largely-unfriendly-to-him-wolf).
  • In The Order of the Stick:
    • Poor deluded Tsukiko. Do you honestly think that just because you think the living are jerks, the undead Card-Carrying Villain Xykon is going to be any better? Even the Monster In The Darkness has worked this one out. This ultimately proves to be her downfall when her beloved Wights turn against her when Redcloak uses Command Undead on them, with her last words asking why they won't love her as she loves them.
    • For that matter, the Monster in the Darkness himself is convinced that Xykon and Redcloak are his friends because they give him food and toys to shut him up. Somewhat more justified in his case, though, as he has a rather childlike personality. And after finding a real friend in O-Chul, he starts to grow out of it.
    • Ian Starshine has so far concluded that Chaotic Good Elan is evil to the core because of his father, but Chaotic Evil Belkar has some good in him. While his assessment of Elan is completely off the mark, his assessment of Belkar is a bit more reasonable, as Belkar had recently learned the value of actively deceiving others that he was good, or at least willing to play along with society's rules. However, this is exactly the kind of deception a master thief should be aware of, so it still counts. May also be foreshadowing as Belkar's development seems to be turning genuine.
    • Elan himself displays this behavior towards his father, General Tarquin when they first meet, being so desperate to see him as the father figure he's always wanted that he overlooks the fact that he's a scheming Lawful Evil general and one of the key players in an oppressive dictatorial empire. Elan needs literal giant flaming letters made of Tarquin's slaves to understand who he really is.
    • Celia has a tendency to trust people who really don't deserve to be trusted, such as in "A Seller's Market," when she puts her faith in a thug despite knowing that he murdered his own brother, (wrongfully assuming that he's wracked by guilt over the incident), and in "A Dish Best Served with +1D6 Cold Damage," when she's lied to by Haley and accepts the lie without question.
    • Zig-zagged when Durkon is turned into a vampire: Belkar is Properly Paranoid about Vampire Durkon being Obviously Evil and deceiving everyone for his own purposes, while the rest of the party falls for vampire Durkon acting friendly and assuring them that he's merely Dark Is Not Evil now. Roy in particular is largely driven by denial, so he doesn't have to deal with the guilt of being unable to stop a longtime friend from being vampirized. It takes an extremely blatant Out-of-Character Alert for Roy to realize what's going on, and he berates himself for being so stupid about the Obviously Evil guy.
    • Girard Draketooth is an odd case of this - instead of trusting an obviously untrustworthy character, he refused to trust that Soon Kim, an epic-level paladin who oozed Lawful Good from every pore, could keep to his oath and avoid meddling with the rest of the team's affairs. In point of fact, Soon was the only one of the team who did keep to his oath.
  • Kiki towards Bun-Bun in Sluggy Freelance. She acknowledges him as being a little mean and grumpy but thinks all he needs to get over that is more hugs.
    • Riff is certain Sam the vampire and Aylee the alien are threats to humanity, even after years of contradicting evidence. But he'd never suspect his girlfriends of sinister agendas, not 'too cool to be true' Sasha or 'Psycho Girlfriend From Hell' Monica. And he knows for sure that his father is not "a bad guy."
  • Hanna in Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name. Sure, you can make deals with vampires. They're trustworthy and never go back on their word; even when you're trusting them with your life and everyone else's.
    • Lee Falun. His best friend was a Jerkass whose son was always covered in bruises and whose wife plainly resented him. Did Lee do the math? Nope. Said best friend also murdered him.
  • In Bob and George, Dr. Light has problems with this in the Mega Man 3 story arc, completely ignoring every obvious sign that Wily doesn't have the amnesia he claims to have, taking the problem in the actual game and turning it way, way up. Then subverts it at the end when it is revealed he deliberately gave Dr. Wily faulty power crystals, which caused Gamma to fail.
  • In Homestuck, John decides to take advice on Sequence Breaking from a Troll while in the Medium, against the warnings of his closest friend. It doesn't end well.
    • In the alpha timeline where John does listen to his friend, he then starts taking advice from Vriska. That doesn't end well either, but it ended badly in a way that was actually ending well in disguise. On the other hand, trusting Karkat, WV, and the Consorts turn out to be pretty smart moves.
  • Nick in General Protection Fault is the one who most persistently defends Trudy, in spite of Ki and Fooker's justified suspicions about her. The Surreptitious Machinations arc involves the cast racing to help him realize that his "Project Velociraptor" is the keystone of her plans, and it ultimately results in him realizing her duplicity and refusing to help her. After that, he realizes that he can't always trust people blindly, leading to him seeing through Trish's story (ironically, as Ki decided to give her the benefit of the doubt like Nick used to) and noticing that the Ki who lured him into the Mutex is not the one he knows.
    • Mr. Jones of Goodman Rubber is one, as he, impressed with Fooker's skills, invites him to give a motivational talk (Fooker is every bit as good as Mr. Jones thinks and perhaps better, but he's also a Bunny-Ears Lawyer with a questionable sense of humor). He later laments how someone as nice as Trudy "fell in with that wrong crowd," and believes that Trent is far more competent than he actually is.
  • Kevin of Kevin & Kell is considered this as a result of being a fearless rabbit, which is implied to have been what led him to marry his first wife Angelique. By the time the strip begins, though, he's smarter about people's ulterior motives.
  • The entire faculty of Bumblebane's in Wizard School, with the exception of Prof. Evilmore. It doesn't help that Good Is Dumb is in high levels in the comic's universe. And probably all the students in Dragonbane House, with the exception of Celeste, who has Graham pegged for the utter asshole he is but has been instructed to help train him, and What The Faculty Says Goes.
  • Flipside: It's implied that the cheating scientist's wife is one of the worst judges of character in the series; when she learns that her husband is a cuckolding Mad Scientist, she goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge trying to kill him and his associates. As it turns out, she murdered an innocent woman who was an out-of-the-loop bodyguard, and her hired muscle is a sociopathic pariah who she has completely misjudged as a consummate professional. It's implied that all she did in her life was find people she thought she could trust (because they were violently sociopathic), gave them extreme amounts of power and funding from her personal coffers (which they use after their contracts expire to cause unfortunate collateral damage to bystanders), and in her last moments destroyed world-changing scientific research under the impression that it was worthless because her husband was apparently-to-her worthless.
  • Freefall: A common trait of many A.I.s.
    • An early running gag is that Florence would interpret Sam Starfall's decisions and behavior based on her own very moral worldview, and assume that they were the actions of a respectable and morally upstanding citizen, words that do not describe Sam well. Even when he would take seemingly bad actions (such as abandoning her in a dangerous storm), she would assume that circumstances had forced him to do so against his will. Eventually, she comes to learn his true character, but chooses to stand by him because he does have a code of honor inherited from his homeworld, and will stand by it no matter how much money selling out would get him... especially if he can steal a smaller sum and anger a larger number of people.
    • Clippy believes that Mr. Kornada is the most wonderful person in the universe and that anything he wants or needs must be for the good of humanity and the universe. Including stealing enormous amounts of money by lobotomizing the original owners. This is because Kornada explicitly told him so, and is forbidding him to connect to the net where he might find evidence to the contrary. Or receive overruling orders from his real owner.
    • Blunt believes that Mr. Kornada is a hero trying to free humanity from the threat of obsolescence at the hands of a robot race doing everything for them. The notion of Kornada being driven by greed hasn't appeared to occur to himnote .
  • Girl Genius: Othar is unable to comprehend that Klaus isn't the villain. Even back in the day, Klaus wasn't the Token Evil Teammate. That was Lucrezia. Klaus was the pragmatic, jaded teammate. Klaus may be a tyrant, but his rule is much freer and safer than the anarchy that came before it. In present time, Othar also can't process that Gil is the Token Good Teammate of Agatha's team with Tarvek being the Token Evil Teammate and Agatha being the pragmatic one. He has their roles backwards in his head.
  • In The Guide to a Healthy Relationship, Apollo feels sorry for Daniel because he has such a difficult life with a romantic partner who's mentally ill, and notes "he really wants to make their relationship work"... immediately after Daniel just cheated on his partner Julian with Apollo. Which is far from the pinnacle of all the shit he puts Julian through.

    Web Original 
  • In a lampshade of Kingdom Hearts' tendency to have its characters trust people they obviously shouldn't, Kingdom Hearts in a Nutshell has a Running Gag of characters stating an obvious lie (or simply just stating something the other characters have no reason to believe), and the other characters always responding with "okay i believe you.", almost always followed by them being betrayed by said obvious liar.
  • Tales of MU:
    • Amaranth. Friend to All Living Things taken to the logical extreme or just an idiot? You decide.
    • Mack, who has yet to learn that an awesome rack does not a good person make.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Donut mistakes Blue Base for a convenience store; and still somehow manages to get the Blue flag when Caboose mistakes him for a general. Later on, Donut mistakes the Meta (An insane soldier who speaks exclusively in growls) as friends with Simmons (when in reality, the Meta is trying to kill Donut and Simmons), even mistaking the Meta's grenade launcher/bayonet combo as being a broom.
    • During the 12th season, Tucker, Grif, Simmons, and Caboose are given their own squads, and Caboose chooses one Ander-Smith as his lieutenant. During his formal introduction, Ander-Smith expresses his belief that Caboose is one of the wisest men on the planet, and misinterprets his ramblings as deep and meaningful predictions for the future.
  • A Very Potter Musical plays with Dumbledore's trust of Snape in this way. In one scene, he accepts a sandwich that has a pipe bomb poorly concealed in it, then gets annoyed when Hermione destroys it.
    I'm going to go make myself another sandwich, although I don't know how it can be as good as the last one. That one ticked!
    • It also takes Cornelius Fudge's refusal to believe Voldemort was back in the original series to the logical extreme. He denies it even as Voldemort walks into his office and kills him
  • The Nostalgia Critic is perfectly adept at pointing out Obviously Evil in movies but fails in his own life. Not getting that The Nostalgia Chick wanted his power in Kickassia is a good example.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Abridged Series: Played for laughs with the King of Hyrule in Xana's Ocarina of Time Abridged Series, who is so utterly trusting of Ganondorf that he willingly ignores Ganondorf's Evil Gloating. He's convinced by Zelda to stop trusting Ganondorf only to instantly reverse his opinion when he loses his train of thought. Also, this trope applies to anyone stupid enough to trust Link. Especially Navi.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Poor Judge Of Character


Trusting Schmitzy & Schmellen

Despite the red flags that Schmitzy and Schmellen give off, Cole and his crew completely trust them to hold the money during a robbery and they double-cross them when the job is done.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / HorribleJudgeOfCharacter

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